Rabbi Moshe Cordovero – RaMaK (1522 c.e. – 1570 c.e.)
Family was from Cordoba, Spain. He was born in Tzfat in 1522. Died in on 23rd of the month of Tammuz 1570 at the age of 48.
He learned Jewish Law under Rabbi Yoseph Karo, the author of Shulchan Aruch, and was one of the four rabbis was ordained by Rabbi Yacov Beirav.
Completed learning the Jerusalem and Babylon Talmud at 16. At 20 he heard a heavenly voice that told him to start learning Kabbalah. Started learning with his brother in law the Kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz the composer of Lecha Dodi.
1515 he founded a Kabbalah Academy in Tzfat, which he headed for 20 years until his death.
After mastering the Zohar he wrote a book called Ohr Yakar, the Precious Light, a 16 volume commentary on the Zohar.
He also wrote Pardes Rimonim, the Orchard of the Pomegranate, which categorized and systematized Kabbalistic philosophy. In it he relates of the names of all the supernal angelic beings and which ones correspond to which heichal, heavenly chamber.
He was a master in invoking names of angels and could summon them with divine names. He was even able to cast away the Satan himself.
He wrote a book called Sefer HaGerushim, the Book of Divorces. This is a journal of his self-imposed exiles that he and R’ Alkabetz would do a month out of the year.
He is probably most famous for his book, Tomer Devorah, Devorah’s Palm Tree, which is a Kabbalistic system of ethical behavior based on the 13 attributes of Mercy.
There he writes of loving including everyone including the wicked.
Tzadikim say that it is a segulah to read a page of Tomer Devorah every day.Tomer devorah is segula to be healed from disease. (grandson of the Magid of Mezritch.
His system of Kabbalah focused predominantly on the World of Tohu, Chaos and the individual sefirot. Later the Arizal’s system replaced it with focusing more on the World of Tikun, Rectification and understanding the sefirot as systems called Partzufim.
He died on 23rd of the month of Tammuz 1570 at the age of 48.
His students recall how in class he said that, “He who sees a pillar of fire by my body after I die, he will be the next Master.”
During his funeral procession, the Arizal saw not one but 2 pillars of fire, something the Talmud says only 1 person in a generation merits to see. The Arizal said that he was a reincarnation of Benayau B. Yehoyada. Then was reincarnated into the prophet Zecharia. Then the Nefesh and Ruach split into Shemaya and Avtaliyon. Then Ruach came to Ramak, and the Nefesh came to his beloved student, R Eliyahu B. Davidas the author of Reshit Chochma, Beginning of Wisdom. The Arizal said that the Ramak was so pure and that the only reason he died was because of sin of Adam.
וְכִי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ””
“If a man commits a sin for which he is sentenced to death, and he is put to death,
you shall hang him on a pole.”